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Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

No hate speech at Delhi dharam sansad event: Police to SC

The affidavit by the Delhi Police was filed in response to the notice issued by the court on a petition that sought probe into allegations of hate speech at the “dharam sansad” in Haridwar and Delhi last year.

Students protest in New Delhi against the alleged hate speech at the 'dharam sansad'. (File Photo/PTI)

Delhi police, which investigated complaints of hate speech at a meet organised by the Hindu Yuva Vahini here on December 19, 2021, has told the Supreme Court that “no hate was expressed” at the Delhi event as alleged.

In an affidavit filed in the top court, the police said, “…no hate was expressed in the event at Delhi against group, community, ethnicity religion or faith”.

“ (The) speech was about empowering one’s religion to prepare itself to face the evils which could endanger its existence, which is not even remotely connected to call for genocide of any particular religion,” the affidavit said.

The affidavit was filed in response to the notice issued by the court on a petition that sought probe into allegations of hate speech at the Dharam Sansad in Haridwar and the subsequent Delhi event last year.

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The police said they had received three complaints alleging that open calls were made for genocide of Muslims with the object of achieving their ethnic cleansing. The complaints also referred to a speech by Suresh Chavanke, editor of news channel Sudarshan News, and claimed that it contained instances of what can be termed as hate speech.

“All the… complaints were consolidated and an inquiry was initiated,” the police said. “After that deep inquiry was conducted, evaluation of video etc, then the answering respondent did not find any substance in the video as per allegation levelled by the complainants,” the affidavit said.

“In the video clip of the Delhi incident, there is no utterance against any particular community. Hence, after inquiry and after evaluation of the alleged video clip, it was concluded that the alleged speech did not disclose any hate words against a particular community as alleged or otherwise. Bare perusal of the complaints made, the statements, which are alleged to be offensive, would divulge that there is no specific words against a particular community or any community were uttered by the gathering or any other person in that event,” it said. “In view thereof, the complaints were closed vide inquiry report dated 13.03.2022.”

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The affidavit said the police “after carrying out preliminary enquiry on the aforesaid complaints and after examining video link and attached video in respect of hate speech delivered at Delhi, found out that no such words as mentioned by the complainant in his complaint have been used”.

“There is no use of such words which mean or could be interpreted as ‘open calls for genocide of Muslim in order to ethnic cleansing or open call for murder of an entire community’ in the speech,” the police said.

“That the findings of inquiry after visually and audio examination of the evidence further disclose that speech did not contain any hate words against a particular community, and persons who gathered were there with the motive to save the ethics of their community,” said the affidavit.

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It said that “none of the words which were spoken during the events in any manner whatsoever overtly and explicitly described Indian Muslims as usurpers of land territory, as predators of land, livelihoods and of Hindu women, and nothing was said or done which could create an environment of paranoia amongst any religion, caste or creed”.

The affidavit also pointed to the law on free speech and said “it is trite law that the fundamental freedom of speech under Article 19 (1) (a) can be reasonably restricted only for the purposes mentioned in Article 19(2), and the restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not the quirks and of convenience and expediency”.

“We must practice tolerance to the views of others. Intolerance is as much dangerous to democracy as to the person himself,” it said.

The police said the “the petitioner is trying to draw an incorrect and absurd inference by isolated passages disregarding the main theme and its message”.

The affidavit said the apex court “has time and again reiterated that commitment to freedom of expression demands that it cannot be suppressed unless the situation created by allowing the freedom are pressing and the community interest is endangered. The anticipated danger should not be remote, conjectural or far fetched. It should have proximity and direct nexus with the expression. The expression of thought should be intrinsically dangerous to the public interest which is not the case in instant matter”.

First published on: 14-04-2022 at 12:45:36 pm
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